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Eat your veggies

March 3, 2011 by Laura

Last night we watched Get Low with Robert Duvall. One of the many great lines spoken by Duvall’s character, Felix Bush, occurs when another character, Buddy, finds Felix slumped over in his barn, unable to get up.

Buddy: You stuck?
Felix: You have no idea how right you are, boy.
Buddy: You sick?
Felix: Going through the motions.
Buddy: What does that mean?
Felix: There’s going through the motions. There’s alive and there’s dead and there’s a worse place in between. And I hope that you never know about that, pal.

And that place is where I work: the Intensive Care Unit.

Last week I cared for a patient who was, let’s say, typical. Not 20 years older than me, he was obese, diabetic, had suffered several heart attacks, had a portion of a leg removed because of non-healing infections, had a multidrug resistant bloodstream infection, and was in my care because he had gone into respiratory distress and probably suffered a stroke. His condition had left him unable to attend to his own hygiene and unable to feed himself. In the uncharitable language of nurses-trying-to-cope he was “a train wreck.”

As I was feeding him his dinner, I lowered the fork into his pureed vegetable (green beans?). He shook his head, “I don’t eat vegetables.” Of course. I put the fork down.

I went home and ate an entire Napa cabbage (ANDI score 704).


  1. Virginia says:

    i doubt courteny eats vegetables either.

  2. Craig says:

    That story rings so true and I can recount many analogs in my own personal life. Oh, God, it’s sordid.

  3. Banana says:

    Mark Bittman has some great veggie soup recipes in today’s Times. Thanks to your blog we are eating more and more of the good stuff. Brussels sprouts are my new favorites–with garlic and lemon and a wee bit of olive oil–yum! Anything to keep out of the intensive care unit.

  4. karen says:

    Oh, that just cracked me up. As a fellow nurse, of course I feel your pain. My most recent train wreck was telling me Thursday night that yeah, he was having another toe cut off and that he really “needed” a cigarette.

    (Oh and this morning I was chastised on FB for using the phrase “nothing tastes as good as thin feels” in response to being told I had an iron will because I had resisted cupcakes.)

  5. slow engine says:

    Maybe I’ll change my “reply” name to Permission Granted. But I only grant you permission because I want you to be happy. And because they say I shouldn’t drink alone.
    So just this one time I’m going to be Mr Remedial: Laura, no Twinkies!

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